Intergalactic Invaders

Lost in space? You might be right at home!

This is Sandra Tsing Loh with the Loh Down on Science.

Genetic testing – it’s all the rage! But what if your lineage was intergalactic? ! We used to think all of the matter in our Galaxy was formed in-house. But the atoms that make you up could be out of this world – literally!

Meet Daniel Anglés-Alcázar and Claude-André Faucher-Giguère at Northwestern University. They study the evolution of our Galaxy by looking at winds. Galactic winds, that is!

They’re made up of streams of tiny particles spewed out from other galaxies. They were thought to be too weak to travel intergalactic distances. Until now.

The researchers traced how these winds traveled from the Big Bang until today. Using 3-D computer simulations, they tracked the speeds, positions and masses of millions of particles. Discovery?

Nearly HALF of the matter in the Milky Way is swiped from other galaxies! The culprits are supernovae, or exploding stars. These explosions give galactic winds the extra push to traverse millions of lightyears through the cosmos.

So if you’re tracing your alien roots, just yell “beam me up!”